MAG in Somalia

ARMOURIES BUILT OR REFURBISHED, PREVENTING WEAPONS DIVERSION

132

EXPLOSIVE STORE AND DISPOSAL HOUSES BUILT OR REFURBISHED

7

ARMS MANAGEMENT & DESTRUCTION TRAINEES

630

WEAPONS WHICH CAN NOW BE SAFELY STORED

57,350

 

Decades of conflict have left the Somali security sector without the facilities or training to prevent large-scale theft and diversion from weapon and ammunition stockpiles.

Coast guard armoury in Somaliland

By working with the authorities to build and renovate armouries like this, MAG is reducing the risk of weapons and munitions being diverted to the illicit arms trade. Measures include lockable gun racks and the training of armoury managers.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG

The problems

Why MAG is in Somalia

Decades of conflict have left the Somali security sector without the facilities or training to prevent large-scale theft and diversion from weapon and ammunition stockpiles.

The restoration of the Federal Government of Somalia and the partial lifting of the 20-year-old arms embargo, alongside a platform of relative stability in Somaliland, mean that authorities have been able to strengthen their security sector and better respond to insurgent threats.

However, this progress presents its own challenges in terms of ensuring the incoming weapons and associated ammunition are correctly managed.

There have been 13,000 weapons and 5.5 million rounds of ammunition brought into the country by the Federal Government of Somalia since the easing of the arms embargo to help support the security sector, but continued attacks on stockpiles by armed groups heightens the risk of them ending up in the wrong hands.

There is also a continued risk of unplanned explosions at munitions sites, which are often located in urban, populated areas.

SOMALIA PHOTO GALLERY: CLICK ON IMAGE TO VIEW

Almost every family owns in the village of Kalabyr owns a gun. This has led to tragedies involving children. See how MAG is helping to create gun-safe villages, here and elsewhere in Somalia.

How MAG is helping in Somalia

MAG has worked in Somalia since 2001, establishing a full-time presence in 2008 to work with Puntland Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams to safely remove and destroy dangerous items.

From 2010, we deployed our own teams in South Central, along with Community Liaison teams providing mine risk education to increase local awareness of the dangers. From 2012, MAG also delivered Small Arms Light Weapons risk education to reduce the threat from firearm related injury and death.

MAG regularly receives requests for the construction or rehabilitation of armouries and explosive stores from the national authorities in Somaliland and Puntland, and in South Central Somalia via relevant stakeholders in the Weapons and Ammunition Management Technical Working Group.

MAG has completed a total of 131 armouries and explosive stores to date, including 24 in South Central, 52 in Puntland and 62 in Somaliland. Two of these are civilian-police armouries, managed by the police but used by local civilian weapon-owners.

MAG continues to provide low-cost and locally appropriate facilities in line with international standards, and has refined its approach and increased efficiency. We improve accountability and sustainability amongst key personnel through training of armoury storekeepers and managers.

MAG’s interventions continue to respond to need, and we are currently undertaking surveys across both Somaliland and Puntland to review remaining security sector requirements.

Our arms management activities across all three regions are part of broader international support to Security Sector Reform.

MAG’s work supports the overall objectives of the Somali Compact established under the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, which was adopted by the Federal Government of Somalia in September 2013.

This includes strengthening “the capacity and accountability of state security institutions to recover territory, stabilise and provide basic safety and security” as a key priority.

SALW risk education in Somalia

Risk education helps to keep the most vulnerable people safe.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG